Vaga General: Strike in Catalonia protests state violence

Catalans engage in 24 hour strike following independence referendum

INDEPENDENCE SUPPORTERS and unions are protesting with a general strike and demonstrations across Catalonia, following repression and violence by Spanish police during the Catalan independence referendum on Sunday 1 October.

Trade unions, transport networks and businesses are joining in a general strike expected to bring Catalonia to a standstill – an act which is of no small significance to Spain, given that the Catalan economy is worth around a fifth of Spain’s GDP.

Two of Catalonia’s largest unions, CC OO and UGT, made a joint release in which they made clear their support for the protests: “Our organisations in Catalonia are encouraging participation in protests against the excesses committed on October 1.”

They explained, however, that this did not change their position on the question of independence itself: “In no way are we going to support positions that provide backing for the unilateral declaration of independence.”

Mayor of Barcelona Ada Colau has also voiced concern over the way the matter was handled, and has said that a vote on independence should have been allowed, despite the fact that she does not support independence.

Colau said: "What we need is a democratic response. And we need a political solution. And we need an inclusive solution that listens to the cries of millions of people."

“I think that in order to form a political solution, the first thing would be the resignation of Mariano Rajoy. And the international community, and specifically the European Union, must help us to create conditions for a political solution, for mediation."

Spanish newspaper El Pais reported that thousands of people were participating in demonstrations outside police stations in Barcelona and Reus on Tuesday morning. Across Catalonia, protestors are creating barricades to block the roads.

Barcelona Football Club is also participating in the strike. A statement explained: “The day of action seeks to bring together all those people who on 1 October, whether they voted or not, were left indignant by the serious events which took place.”

Sandra White MSP, who was part of a Scottish delegation to Catalonia in support of the referendum, has lodged a motion on the situation to be discussed in the Scottish Parliament.

The motion will ask MSPs to condemn the actions of the Spanish police and call on the EU member states to invoke Article 7 of the European Union Treaty which demands “suspension of any state using military forces on its own population.”

Picture courtesy of kodachrome65 

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